The Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building, Broadway, Central Park … there’s quite a list of familiar tourist attractions in New York that are everybody’s sightseeing list. But what are those streets and avenues hiding? If you want to get up close and personal and get and take a big juicy bite to get to the core of the Big Apple, where do you go?
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1 Secret Subway Exit in Brooklyn
One particular townhouse at 58 Joralemon Street in fact isn’t a townhouse at all, but rather a subway exit! You can tell the difference by the fact that the fake house has tinted windows, and inside there are only boxes and stairs. The building is used to ventilate all of the Brooklyn subway lines.
2 World Trade Center Sphere
This statue once lived between the Twin Towers, and it was miraculously not destroyed during 9/11. It has been moved to Battery Park and has been equipped with an eternal flame to pay tribute to all the victims of the disastrous terrorist attack.
3 East Greenacre Park
Located at 217 East 51st Street, there is actually a park in the middle of midtown that boasts a real waterfall! It is the perfect place to pull up a chair and enjoy the New York sunshine with some nature at hand.
4 Roosevelt Island Hospital
This building was once a dedicated smallpox hospital, but the Roosevelt Island building that resembles a castle is now abandoned and makes for a particularly creepy spot of urban exploration.
Known as the C-Squat, a huge building in the East Village on 155 Avenue C has been taken over by squatters and modified with amazing skateboarding ramps and even a stage area for shows.
6 Vinegar Hill
Vinegar Hill in Brooklyn was named after an Irish battle of 1798, and the area feels super historic with cobblestone streets and home buildings that date as far back as the 1800s.
7 Cobble Hill Tunnel
This abandoned tunnel is part of the Long Island Railroad system, and there have always been rumors that the space was used for transportation of illegal goods and alcohol in the early 19th century.
8 High Bridge
Unused since 1970, the High Bridge once was a main connector between Manhattan and the Bronx. It leads to some beautiful nature and forest areas on the outskirts of the city.
9 Red Hook Grain Elevator
Along the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn is this old abandoned refinery factory that has huge silos that you can explore and also offers a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline.
10 Elevator Museum
And speaking of elevators, why not pay a visit to the unconventional Elevator Museum on Long Island? You’ll be surprised how interesting you actually find it!
11 Mount Loretto Beach
Staten Island is often the forgotten Borough of New York, but this beach should be included on every visitor’s list thanks to the presence of crazy rock sculptures all along the shore.
12 Dead Horse Bay
Its name might not be the most appealing, but Dead Horse Bay is a great place to go in search of messages in bottles. So many bottles tend to wash up along the shore of this ‘beach’ on the Rockaway Inlet in Brooklyn.
13 Steinway Piano Factory
The Steinway Piano Factory in Astoria has long since been the home of some of the world’s best pianos, and if you visit you can be treated to a tour of the factory by one of its friendly employees.
14 Green-Wood Cemetery
If you enjoy the macabre side of tourism, then the Green-Wood cemetery in Brooklyn is definitely for you, with hundreds of old tombstones to see and some incredible gothic architecture to behold.
15 Hell Gate Bridge
What makes this bridge so great to visit is that you can actually go inside it. If you start at the BQE where the tracks are close enough, you can walk all the way until you arrive at the bridge.
This huge 5000-pound bronze structure was built in 1898 and is the largest of its kind in the entire city. It’s now known as the Clocktower Gallery and provides a fascinating insight into how a clock actually works.
17 Trinity Church
Amongst all of the high rises and chrome of the Financial District is Trinity Church, whose cemetery is home to some of the very oldest tombstones in the entire city. A great destination for history hungry tourists.
18 Abandoned Subway Station
This abandoned subway station at City Hall was built in 1904 but hasn’t been in use since the 40s, but its elegant design and eerie atmosphere make it a wonderful and quirky tourist stop for visitors to the city.
19 Hallett Nature Sanctuary
This four-acre piece of land in Central Park was off limits to the public for 70 years, sealed away in the attempt to have it be a bird sanctuary. Work is now underway to clean the overgrown acres and match them to the standards of the rest of the park.
20 The New York Earth Room
Hidden among the chic boutiques of Soho is an art installation that is simply a white loft filled with 280,000 pounds of dirt! The artwork was created in 1977 and the soil has never been changed since then.
21 Radio City Music Hall’s Secret Apartment
There is a secret apartment built within Radio City Music hall that the architects designed as a token of their appreciation, and it has been used to entertain the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Samuel Goldwyn in the past.
22 Morbid Anatomy Museum
This creepy museum houses a macabre collection of artifacts like skeletons, preserved specimens and memorials that highlight a morbid side of New York culture and history, and the gift shop is certainly worth a visit!
23 Berlin Wall
Nestled in a Plaza in Midtown, you can get up close and personal with a section of the iconic Berlin Wall. Who says you have to visit Europe to experience their history!?
24 Wave Hill Garden
This 28-acre paradise overlooking the Hudson River provides a perfect calm amongst the hustle and bustle of New York City. It is kind of strange to experience such Zen when everything around you in going 100 miles per hour.
25 Tabernacle of Prayer Church
Located in Jamaica, Queens, this movie theatre turned Church is a wonderful piece of architecture and design. You won’t believe that people used to come here for the talkies rather than for worship; the place is exquisite!
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